Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Beauty of the Present

"Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why they call it the present." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Back when I worked for Baystate for awhile we were doing what I'd call "customer service" training for employees, the type of thing most people would gripe about -- having to attend "be nice" classes. They really were more than that, but that was always the feedback we'd get. Well, during these classes, of which I sometimes helped faciliate, we'd play a DVD put out by National Geographic hosted by some famous photographer, called "Celebrate What's Right with the World."

I never tired of watching it. The guy talked about the amazing things you can capture through the camera's eye, when you keep pushing yourself to see the beautiful things about this world. There was a part in particular that stuck with me -- about a day the man was in Scotland to photograph this older woman. The woman was caring for her dying brother and obviously going through a stressful time of much heartache. When she wasn't caring for her brother, she would weave, and as he took pictures of her weaving he asked what she thought about while she was weaving. She answered simply, "When I weave, I weave."

When I weave, I weave. I've thought of that statement so many times over the years. Whenever I do I wonder how life would be different if I was able to more fully live my life in the present moment, focusing on a singular task -- whether it be a hobby, a book, cleaning the kitchen, changing a diaper -- rather than losing myself in tomorrow, that night's dinner, or rehashing a conversation from last week or last year.

When I weave, I weave. The message keeps coming to me again and again. Recently one of my favorite Christian musicians, Jason Upton, released a new CD. Jason Upton is so completely different from most people's concept of christian music. He's not on Christian radio stations and you won't find him nominated for a Dove award. I went to see him a couple of weeks ago at a church and although he had this CD coming up in a few weeks there was no mention of it, no marketing, none of the slickness which isn't always bad, but sometimes turns people off. It's hard when Christianity comes across as people trying to "sell" something. So I read a summary on his website on the theme of this new CD of simple, family songs (as he called it), and there it was again. He calls the CD, "a collection of journal entries about the mystery of trusting Jesus in our day-to-day lives; the worship of our day to day lives: to be present.

I'd never thought of living in the present as actually being viewed by God as worship. But when I think about it, maybe that's what living in the moment is all about. If I'm able to engage in the present rather than letting my mind take rabbit trails elsewhere, it's because I am at peace and trusting that I don't have to have it all figured out, that I don't have to take the reigns and get it all under control. It's letting the burden slide off my back and breathing deep.

I want that. What's difficult is that just because an idea is simple doesn't mean that it's easy. It also means I have to remember to approach living in the present as being vitally important. The so-called simple things are often the most profound.

No comments: